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April 27 (Reuters) - Britain’s FTSE 100 index is seen opening down 0.42 percent on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, with futures down 0.45 percent ahead of the cash market open.
* N BROWN: British plus-size fashion retailer N Brown Group Plc said economic conditions for retail will remain challenging, adding to signs that UK consumer confidence is deteriorating.
* WEIR: Weir Group Plc, a maker of pipes and valves for energy and mining industries, said like-for-like order input for its oil and gas unit rose 50 percent in the first quarter, helped by increased drilling activity in North America.
* ASTRAZENECA: AstraZeneca, struggling with loss of patents on blockbusters like cholesterol pill Crestor, reported another quarter of falling drug sales on Thursday as it awaits pivotal clinical trial data that may revive its fortunes.
* LLOYDS: Lloyds Banking Group on Thursday reported its first quarter profit remained steady, defying analysts’ expectations of a dip in performance at Britain’s biggest mortgage lender following the vote last June to leave the European Union.
* SCHRODERS: British fund manager Schroders said on Thursday that total assets under management and administration rose 5 percent in the three month to end-March to 416.3 billion pounds ($535.69 billion).
* WPP: WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, reported a 0.8 percent rise in first-quarter like-for-like net sales growth, slightly shy of expectations at around 1 percent, due to a weak performance in North America.
* HENDERSON: Shareholders of British asset manager Henderson Global Investors backed its $6 billion merger with U.S. fund firm Janus Capital on Wednesday, after Janus shareholders approved the deal earlier this week.
* TULLOW: Paul McDade, the incoming chief executive of Tullow Oil, said on Wednesday the Africa-focused oil firm’s appointment of its outgoing CEO as chairman may not be best practice but it was in the company’s interest.
* GO-AHEAD: British rail operator Go-Ahead Group got green light as ministers will not strip loss-making and deeply troubled Thameslink-Southern rail franchise as they fear it would cause even more chaos for millions of commuters, The Times reported on Thursday. bit.ly/2oNGlof
* LLOYDS: British bank Lloyds Banking Group said it has appointed a retired high court judge to investigate its handling of fraud at its HBOS branch in Reading, The Guardian reported on Wednesday. bit.ly/2oNJoNc
* OIL: Oil prices dipped on Thursday, weighed down by a general sentiment of globally bloated markets, though traders said that prices seemed to have found support around current levels.
* EX-DIVS: Antofagasta, Fresnillo, Informa, ITV , Legal & General, Relx will trade without entitlement to their latest dividend pay-out on Thursday, trimming 5.65 points off the FTSE 100 according to Reuters calculations.
* The UK blue chip index closed up 0.2 percent on Wednesday, as gains for Standard Chartered and other companies reporting well-received results helped offset a pullback in healthcare stocks.
* For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on: cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets
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